I can plan a preschool storytime with my eyes closed, but when it comes to planning school-aged storytimes I am much less confident. Thankfully there are some really fantastic blogs out there with book and song recommendations for this age group. Do you read Storytime All-Stars? Well you should because she has tons of thematic school-age storytime outlines. There’s also the Harris County Public Library’s master list of storytime themes with a column for school-age storytimes. I love Jen in the Library’s school age posts because she shows how to take one theme and adapt it for multiple age groups. And a new-to-me blog that has a great variety of seasonal themes is Carol Simon Levin’s Program Palooza. Next, we’ve got the fabulous Abby the Librarian who has a series of posts on her afterschool storytimes. Lastly, for school age programming in general my favourite resources are Thrive After Three and Bryce Don’t Play. All of these wonderful bloggers inspired me to create a Pinterest board where I’ll be adding School Age Storytime Books and Songs that work for kids ages 5-12.
For this Grade 1 storytime I stuck with a loose theme of “funny stuff” or things that make you laugh. I wanted to promote the library as a fun and welcoming space and what better way than to read about farting dogs and talking crayons. I was inspired by a blog post (which I can’t find now!) where someone did booktalks during a school visit by offering the kids choices between books, kind of like in the style of Choose Your Own Adventure. Giving kids a choice in what they read is a great way to adapt your storytimes for older kids. So here’s what I did:
1. Welcome and Introduction
After introducing myself, I briefly went over these key messages.
- The library is for everyone!
- You can borrow lots of things from the library! (Ask kids for examples)
- The library is a place to have fun!
- You can learn new things at the library!
To emphasize this last point, we started by singing “The More We Get Together” using sign language.
2. Walter the Farting Dog VS. Brief Thief
I asked the kids if they’d rather read about a farting dog or an iguana who uses underwear as toilet paper. Not surprisingly, they chose the farting dog.
3. Fruit Salad
To adapt this song for school-age kids, we brainstormed different fruits and vegetables that had three and four syllables. They were really into it! I also asked them to create the hand movements, so they were essentially creating their own song.